What happened next?

I really regretted opening my mouth so quickly and I decided to not let it end there. I was told I had 24 hours to accept the job, but I wanted to revisit the salary issue once more.

The next day I called him to give it another try. I explained that I had spoken too quickly the day before and after looking into it, I would need to earn at the top of the range I had given.

In a respectful, but matter-of-fact way, told me that it wouldn’t be possible and the job was going to pay $85k. There was no wiggle room left for me.

What did you decide to do?

Even though I had botched my negotiation I still really wanted the job. I was glad that I tried once more, but I knew (and I think he knew) that ultimately I was going to take the position even with the lower salary.

I started the job the very next week and was really happy to have a job that I loved. Within six months I received a raise to just under $100k and within a few years my salary increased to $130k. To me this was a clear signal that had I gone in and asked for $100k, rather than giving a range, I probably would have at least gotten close to that starting salary amount.

What advice do you have for other women?

Buy yourself more time. I was put on the spot to give a salary amount during the interview and it was so rushed, I didn’t really have a chance to do research or think about how much I really wanted to be paid. I now realize that the urgency he was placing on the situation by asking for a salary amount on the spot was a negotiation tactic. I should have said that I wanted the job but I wasn’t ready to discuss the amount. At minimum, I should have taken a few hours to compose myself, do some research, and practice asking for what I wanted.

Don’t give a range. I effectively negotiated against myself with this one. When I gave a range I gave away my bottom rate. They knew exactly the lowest amount they could offer me and I would still take the job. Of course they gave me that salary; why would they have given me anything higher than the lowest amount I would be willing to take?